I’m not necessarily a deep swimbait fisherman. My favorite fisheries are often fairly dingy and offer excellent shallow bass fishing opportunities, so I’ve never really had an opportunity to master the technique. I do, however, love throwing swimbaits in shallow water and it’s been a really productive pattern for me lately.
I’ve had a lot of time to test the Netbait Little Spanky for the past several months and it has really earned its keep in my tackle collection. I was thrown for somewhat of a loop when I realized how small it was, but I’ve been able to apply it to several scenarios with a lot of success.
There are three things about it that have really impressed me.
- Resistant to tears and rips
- Great color selection
Works well in a variety of situations
Versatility is an important factor I consider when purchasing soft plastic baits. If conditions change or I decide to make an adjustment, I’d rather not burn through a whole bag of baits in the process. Not to mention, it lightens the load in both my tackle bag and bass boat.
I’ve had success using the Netbait Little Spanky in many different situations. Whether I’m target casting to specific cover or covering water in “search mode”, I’ve caught a lot of bass with it.
- Bladed swim jig trailer—Perhaps my favorite application for the Little Spanky is threading it on the back of a bladed swim jig and skipping it underneath shallow docks. It stays in place very well without the use of super glue and the tail kicks violently even at slow speeds. The main body is fairly rigid for durability purposes but the thin, flexible tail section allows for excellent action whether I’m slow-rolling, burning or dragging the bladed swim jig like a traditional Texas rig.
- Swim jig trailer—Buoyancy is often a common issue for anglers learning how to effectively fish a swim jig. I like to retrieve them high in the water column, but if you’re using a non-buoyant trailer it can be very difficult to keep it in the strike zone. The paddle tail of the Little Spanky seems to give the entire swim jig a bit more “lift” throughout the retrieve, allowing for a slower, more deliberate retrieve in high-percentage areas. It’s compact enough for fishing in heavy cover, but the tail draws plenty of attention from nearby bass.
- Texas rig—I’ve also been able to catch a lot of shallow bass by rigging the Little Spanky on a lightweight Texas rig. It’s a fairly dense bait, so it’s easy to cast and skip accurately and it holds up well to repeated skips. I like to slow-roll it on this rig to make the body lazily roll side-to-side while the tail-section thumps behind it. Because of the small, 3 1/4-inch profile of this bait, I’ve had an excellent hookup ratio and have lost very few fish. Just make sure to let the rod load for a second or two before setting the hook.
- Weightless Texas rig—This is an excellent option early in the mornings and late in the evenings throughout this time of year. On my home lake, I’ve been paralleling grass lines with a weightless Little Spanky and it’s been super-effective. It sinks very slowly, so I let it sink for a few seconds and rip it with my rod tip to emulate a wounded shad or bluegill. As the bait sinks on a slack line, the tail slowly flutters, so you can expect a lot of bites in between rips.
The head of this bait is very firm, which allows it to stay on the hook shank very well. We still have a lot of shallow bluegill in my area, so I’ve been dealing with a lot of “pecks” for the past several weeks. I’ve yet to have a bluegill pull the head down the hook shank which has been a big reason I’ve been able to catch several fish on one Little Spanky.
Although the tail section is fairly thin, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by its durability. This is one of the biggest reasons I’ve been using it so much as a trailer. I’ve used a lot of other small, soft swimbaits in the past that had serious durability issues with the paddle tail—after one fish, you’d see the tail floating on the surface several feet away. The Little Spanky’s plastic is flexible enough to displace a bunch of water, but it’s strong enough to withstand multiple fish catches.
Attractive and practical color selections
I think a lot of soft plastic colors in today’s market catch more anglers than fish. I’m not one to get carried away with my color selection and it seems as if Netbait shares this philosophy. The Little Spanky is available in 12 colors and every one of them serves a distinct, practical purpose.
In clear water situations, I’ve primarily been using Albino, Bluegill Magic, Houdini and Trash. When I’m in areas with limited visibility, I’ve had a lot of success with Kickin Perch and Watermelon Rind.
If you like to target shallow bass, don’t rule out the Netbait Little Spanky. It’s a small little bait, but it offers a ton of versatility.